Iraq removed from travel ban partly for fight against Islamic State: US
Iraqi forces supported by tanks and fighters from the Abbas Brigade, advance in the village of Badush, north-west of Mosul Photograph: (AFP)
Iraq was dropped from President Donald Trump's revised travel ban because of both the steps it is taking to better vet potential travellers and its cooperation in the fight to destroy Islamic State, the US State Department said.
"I think both," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said when asked at a daily news briefing which of those two factors played a role in Iraq's removal from the list in President Donald Trump's executive order issued this week.
Meanwhile, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country will continue to hit Islamic State targets in Syria, as well as in neighbouring countries if they give their approval.
Iraq has officially announced that all roads that connect Mosul city with Tal Afar have been cut-off. (WION)
Fierce fighting continues in Mosul between Iraqi forces and Islamic State. Iraqi forces were able to deter a night-time counter-attack by Islamic State fighters near Mosul's main government building hours after recapturing it.
A sniper aims his weapon towards Islamic State fighters in west Mosul as Iraqi forces continue to push ahead in the city. (AFP)
The Islamic State fighters used several car bombs in the assault, Major General Ali Kadhem al-Lami of the Federal Police's Fifth Division told a Reuters correspondent near the site.
Tens of thousands of residents fled the Islamic State-controlled western part of the Iraqi city of Mosul with Iraqi troops making rapid headway.
Many of them escaped on foot, walking for days. For many, this is the first time to get out of Mosul since Islamic State took control in 2014.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced since the military operation to oust IS from Mosul launched in October.